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Are you bewildered when it comes to shopping for evening gowns? With all the types of formal gowns and dresses available, there are also many terms that describe the length, design, neckline, and style of a dress. You might feel overwhelmed when speaking with a sales clerk at a formal wear shop or even while shopping online for formal dresses. Below we've put together some helpful terms and definitions to help you be an informed shopper for prom dresses and other prom-related items of women's interests.
Prom Dress Styles
Some of the prom dress styles you might see include the ball gown, A-line (princess), sheath, lace-covered, high-low, baby doll, chiffon, one-shoulder, empire, golden glamour, modest, and halter.
Ballroom Gowns and A-Line Dresses
A ballroom gown has a very large skirt that billows out from the waist to the mid-calf or ankles. It might have a fitted waist and top or a corset type top. The A-line or princess dress flares out to the hemline and is narrow near the waist. It forms an "a" shape as it fits to your body from top to bottom.
High-Low, Lace-Covered, and Chiffon Dresses
The high-low dress zigzags vertically at the hemline so it is short in some spots and long in others. The sheath prom dress is one that clings to the body and hides nothing concerning your figure. The lace-covered dress can be a satin or satin-like material underneath with lace as a top layer. Chiffon dresses look similar to a fancy night robe worn by the women of Rome or Greece. With a high empire waist, the dress is long and flows from the hips down to the ankles. It is great for almost any figure.
Baby Doll, One-Shoulder, and Sleeveless Gowns
The baby doll prom dress is typically very short and cute. It usually fits at the top and flows at the bottom with a high waistline in between. Baby doll dresses usually come with a tied ribbon or belt around the stomach area to give the "baby dress" look. One-shoulder prom dresses have only one shoulder strap, of course, with the other side being sleeveless. These are usually long and elegant gowns. There are also completely strapless formal gowns and prom dresses. These can be worn with or without a jacket or wrap.
Halter, Golden Glamour, and Modest Dresses
The halter prom dress looks similar to a halter top at the sleeves and then flows toward the knees. It is usually no longer than just below the knees and may look similar to a high-low dress at the hemline. The golden glamour dress is usually shiny gold to appear like "Hollywood" style apparel. The modest prom dress is beautiful, simple, and modest. It covers everything while still giving the wearer a touch of glamour and elegance.
Types of Sleeves
Cap sleeves are short and cover only the upper arms and shoulders. Juliet sleeves are puffy at the shoulders and taper all the way to the wrist. Some sleeves start below the shoulders or appear to "hang off" the shoulders. Also, spaghetti straps are thin straps with no sleeves.
Necklines are also important when choosing a prom dress. The empire neckline scoops out and then connects with a very high waistline. A sweetheart neckline looks like the top of a heart. A jewel neckline is simple and round, located just above the collarbone. The boat neckline (Bandeau) comes around to each collarbone, similar to a sailor's suit.
Other Terms to Know
There are also handbags, or small purses, and clutches that can match your prom dress. Clutches are small hand-held bags with no straps. Shawls and wraps are not jackets but fit around your shoulders loosely. You can wear them when outdoors during cold weather and easily remove them for dancing. A tiara is a princess-type hairpiece than can be worn with your hair up or down. There are elbow gloves and wrist gloves. Elbow gloves reach to your elbow, covering the bottom part of your arm while wrist gloves only cover the hands.
Before shopping for a formal dress, know what styles and accessories you are looking for so you can save time!